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I, like millions of others around the world, suffer from Dry Eye, Blepharitis and Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD). In layman's terms that means inflammation of the eyelids and blocked tear ducts. My eyes get red, sore and itchy and it makes wearing my contact lenses, which I rely on for anything resembling normal vision, uncomfortable and sometimes painful.

My optometrist advises bathing my eyelids with baby shampoo to remove the crud that accretes at the base of the eyelash, causing the inflammation. It really helps. A cotton-wool pad with a drop of baby shampoo on it, dipped in hot water and used to clean the eyelids, morning and evening. It's a faff but it does help.

She also recommends an EyePad. No, nothing to with Apple, this Is an EyePad. Heated up in the microwave, it softens the gunge that blocks the tear ducts. You can buy them online, a mask filled with wheat, or flax seeds or what have you. But I, being a skinflint, decided to make my own, after a friend told me about his physio's advice for his shoulder problem. This is the same solution.

Step 1: Requirements

One old but clean item of hosiery. Choose something you like the feel of on your skin. If you wear silk stockings, use one of those. If you wear rugby socks, use one of those.

If you wear rugby socks on a Saturday afternoon but silk stockings on a Saturday evening, your secret is safe with me.

Some rice. Now you can use Hualian rice if you are feeling flush, I just used the economy long-grain rice from my local supermarket.

Step 2: Make the Eye Pad

Half-fill the sock with the rice and knot the top. That's it.

Step 3: How to Use It

Warning! Hot things are hot and can hurt you!

Warning! Stupid people are more prone to hurting themselves than the rest of us!

Dry-Eye test:

Watch Bambi. When his mum dies, if you don't cry, you have Dry-Eyes. Either that or you are a heartless psychopath.


Put the EyePad into the microwave and heat it up. Check it every 20 seconds or so to see how hot it is. It will depend on how much rice you've used and the power of your microwave. Mine weighs 400g or 14oz, my microwave is E-rated, 800W and I do mine for 90 seconds.

Wear the EyePad with your head back for four minutes, twice a day, then bathe your eyes with the baby shampoo, massaging your lids to help clear the blocked tear ducts. You should find that your eyes feel more comfortable after a few days.

Points to remember:

The heavier the sock the better it will press on your eye.

The rice heats up from the inside, so the outside will get hotter in the first few seconds of wearing it as the heat starts to come through. If it gets uncomfortable, take it off and let it cool down a bit, but in general, the hotter you can stand it, the better it will work.

This is not just a quick-fix solution, it has to be on-going, or your symptoms are likely to return.

From time to time you can empty the sock and wash it, but it should last a long time before you need to do this. The commercial ones advertise that they can be reheated up to 200 times, which equates to twice a day for 3 months.

Retake the Dry-Eye test. If you still don't cry when Bambi's mum dies, go and see your optometrist.

Or your psychiatrist.

Great idea! Many other uses as well, depending on the size of the sock. I have had both hips replaced, and am plagued by very grumpy hip flexor spasms that can wake me up at night. I made a rice sock using an orphaned knee high tube sock my husband had, filled with grocery store brand rice. You could even check out the dollar store for reasonably priced socks and rice. Tube socks make for a bigger area of heat, and conform to the shape of whatever body part you use it on. You can even decorate light/white colored socks with fabric markers or paint if you want (maybe not if you use it on your eyes)! My daughter has even used it in place of a hot water bottle.
<p>This is a great DIY, thanks! And I don't know what I enjoyed more, your wonderful comments or your fabulous socks (especially the pom-pom one) -- they make me want to go out and buy some fun socks. </p>

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